Melancholy Grace: Renaissance & Baroque Keyboard Music | Erato 9029500899

Melancholy Grace: Renaissance & Baroque Keyboard Music


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Label: Erato

Cat No: 9029500899

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 7th May 2021



Melancholy Grace is a poetic collection of keyboard music from the 16th and 17th centuries by composers from Italy, the Netherlands, England and Germany, including Frescobaldi, Luigi Rossi, Picchi, Luzzaschi, Sweelinck, Dowland, Bull and Gibbons.

The French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau has conceived the album as a sombre, but eloquent dialogue between two contrasting voices: melancholy conveyed through chromaticism and melancholy conveyed through the musical expression of tears and weeping. Each voice finds expression through a different instrument: a 16th-century Italian virginal (a compact harpsichord) for the ‘tears’ and a modern replica of an 18th-century harpsichord for the ‘chromatic’ pieces.



This sense of breath and space pervades the album, and coming in at over 80 minutes, it’s shed the feeling that it’s a recording at all: Rondeau presents something closer to meditation. The considerable space given over to vibration and resonance between the notes, as well as between some of the tracks, is intriguing. The keyboards then shimmer in this silence. ... Rondeau is a wizard: forget grace, forget melancholy – this is brilliance.  Mark Seow
Gramophone July 2021
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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